Hope you don't mind, I'll "re-run" the basic show links for people that didn't catch everything on Tuesday!
This Week's Show
Jonathan Weiler of the ESPN Watch returns to talk the NCAA, paying players to play, and the cognitive dissonance of being a fan.
- Special Guest Jonathan Weiler(@jonweiler)
- Andres Alvarez(@nerdnumbers)
- Produced by Brian Foster(@boxscorebrian)
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This Week's Poll
Apologies for my setup this week. I was recording off of motel wi-fi in San Jose. So my backdrop for the video show was different and my audio quality was sketchy at best after about minute thirty. Luckily, I let Jonathan do most of the talking and he had some great stuff to say.
Reminder, the ESPN Watch, which Jonathan writes at almost daily, is a must read for any sports fan.
Jonathan used to write a blog called Sports Media Review way back in the day.
Jonathan is another two-time guest on the show! He was on talking the NCAA almost a year ago.
Jonathan and Richard Southall wrote a paper on how the NCAA is similar to old "company towns."
Jonathan has seen some of the NCAA scandals front and center as a professor at UNC.
ESPN 30 for 30's about college athletics can help show, inadvertently, just how bizarre a world it is. An example I cited was Brian and the Boz
Jonathan joined CARE-FC, an organization in supporting college athletes in getting properly compensated.
This is a big reason Jonathan is behind Care-FC because even as college athletes do get some wins in court, it will be an uphill battle against a lot of existing beliefs.
I hypothesize that states that try extra hard to prevent athletic pay and unions could hurt themselves longterm as other schools allow for pay.
Jonathan clarifies that the Northwestern ruling only applies to private schools. For public schools, state law is what matters, hence the Michigan and Ohio laws mattering so much. Jonathan also notes many southern states with good college athletics have laws in place against unions.
The Pony Excess was a fantastic documentary that showed just how big the zeal of college football in the south is.
Jonathan can name all four NBA draft picks on the 2005 squad, even though he thought he forgot one!
Marcus Camby and Chris Webber are both examples of an athlete getting "unfair benefits" resulting in a school vacating NCAA wins. It's a bit sad that Michigan essentially erased him from their history. Unlike UMass, who retired Camby's jersey.
Many people, including Darren Rovell, don't understand basic economics or the rules for the NCAA it seems.
A simple issue with the term amateur in college athletics is that it just means whatever the NCAA wants it to mean.
We talk the absurdity of the NCAA eligibility rules. Bo Jackson is a prime example.
As Jonathan Weiler points out, no other category of adults is subjected to this level of treatment -- in regards to restrictive contracts about pay and movement -- in the United States at this time.
A Huffington Post piece, which cited Dave Berri, talked about how colleges can afford to pay college athletes.
A follow-up piece by Andrew Zimbalist has a different take. The logic is slightly worse than a five-year-old's I fear.
Many people don't understand transfer rules in the NCAA, which means you can't leave to another school, even if you aren't getting played and another school wants you!
Jonathan notes; many of the arguments against paying athletes essentially boil down to: "these would inconvenience someone." That's not a good reason to not have a rule! As Jonathan also notes, rules about employees washing their hands also inconvenience people but have a good reason!
We talk some of the implications of having to pay for college sports, including Title IX. A question Jonathan has there is having fewer sports tied to a school really a problem?
I note that it's odd that we think school's couldn't find a way to pay players. The rules currently prohibit it and big schools keep having scandals pay for athletes. The amazing Andy Schwarz explains how "revealed preferences" show how there is a market to pay athletes.
It's not like paying athletes would make college sports less competitive. As Jonathan noted this week, the Final Four has twenty-seven final four appearances combined between the coaches.
Also, how would pay give a school a bigger edge? A school like Kentucky already gets tons of the top prospects every year.
It's also not like only the top players are getting under-the-table money. Lance Thomas had enough to put down thirty thousand for a necklace when he was at Duke.
There is definitely a racial component to the age limit. For example, last year's NHL Rookie of the Year, Nathan MacKinnon was only eighteen his rookie season. He was selected first in the draft and had an absurd year. Even with similar success stories ala Dwight Howard and LeBron James, the NBA wants to raise the age limit.
Michele Roberts, a lawyer with the NBA Players Association, is already striking down age limit, increases in the next CBA and calling out the racial element.
An unseemly part of college athletics that no one wants to talk about is that black labor is funding white priveledge.Jonathan Weiler
We wrap up talking, as Jonathan coined, "the perils of a guilty conscience." It's a great listen where I don't think we resolve anything or offer any helpful advice for people with similar issues about rooting for sports.
I say "Final Four," when I mean "Sweet Sixteen," I corrected myself but figured I'd do doubly so here.
Remember that it is both possible (and even necessary) to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of it’s more problematic or pernicious aspects.Anita Sarkeesian Feminist Frequency
A real world example for myself. I got to meet Dean Ambrose before Wrestlemania. He participated in a ladder match and was injured during it. It's difficult to both cheer and know about the issues behind various sports and entertainment leagues.
Jonathan started cheering for the Knicks in 1973-1974. Talk about the definition of bad timing!
I mispronounce Patrick Ewing again! I'm sorry!
We need James Dolan to be suspended for two years and then parodied on a popular sitcom to become a good owner. At least, that's a theory.
The one issue with "not-watching" as a solution is that it doesn't solve the problem. It's a nice show, and there's nothing wrong with it. But if your goal is solving the problems in sports, it's not the route to go.
Jonathan shouts out Andy Schwarz (@andyhre), who had a great article at Vice Sports this week, and does a great job debunking economics myths in sports.
I shout out Dean Ambrose (@TheDeanAmbrose), who I got to meet and who was injured at Wrestlemania. A key example of a ton of what we talked today.
I shout out Marina Adshade(@dollarsandsex) and Dave Berri(@wagesofwins for their great Time piece on how NFL cheerleaders are underpaid. Dave also has a fantastic Atlantic piece on how NFL players are overpaid, so the solution is pretty clear.
Brian shouts out Rick Welts, for an excellent Tweet.
Thanks to the NCAA, NBA and Indiana Pacers for speaking out about Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
— Rick Welts (@RickWelts) March 30, 2015